ACS urges consistent UK approach for HFSS rules

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The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has raised concerns about the introduction of different HFSS rules in Scotland and the impact that they will have on retailers.

In response to an Impact Assessment from the Scottish Government on the details of proposals to restrict the siting and promotion of HFSS products, ACS has highlighted the significant impact that the proposals will have on retailers – especially those that have stores in both Scotland and other areas of the UK.

The Scottish Government has set out a range of options for the number of categories of product that would be included within the restrictions, as well as the restrictions themselves which fall into two main categories – location restrictions and promotional restrictions.

The Scottish Government’s proposals include restricting the placement of HFSS products in the following areas:

  1. checkout areas, including self service
  2. end of aisles
  3. front of store, including store entrances and covered outside areas connected to the main shopping area
  4. island/ bin displays

The proposals include restricting the following types of promotion for HFSS products in store:

  1. ‘X for Y’ promotions, such as buy one get one free, extra free and 3 for 2 offers
  2. ‘X for £Y’ promotions such as 3 for £2
  3. Temporary price reductions, such as 10% off for a limited period
  4. Meal deals
  5. Unlimited refills for a fixed charge

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The experience of retailers in implementing HFSS rules in England has been costly and confusing, with more uncertainty ahead with the introduction of promotional restrictions still scheduled from October 2023. We are extremely concerned about the proposed approach in Scotland, which differs in a number of significant ways and goes further to restrict the promotion and siting of HFSS products. For all included stores in Scotland, but especially for retailers that have stores in both England and Scotland, planning will be extremely difficult and compliance will be expensive.

“We urge the Scottish Government to adopt a consistent approach with the regulations that are already in place to provide a level of certainty for retailers.”

ACS’ full response to the Impact Assessment is available here: https://www.acs.org.uk/lobbying/submissions